World Cup Memories: Opportunity Knocks! Part 2

Let us transport you back to 1966 as we catch up with the second part of Brian and Dave’s World Cup adventure, when a group of ordinary lads became heroes… much like our World Cup Final 1966 squad:

WC-Memories-Somerdale

…The morning of the World Cup final, the club secretary came out of his door with a bit of a serious face. He said “the committee has said yes, provided you all pay a shilling and become ‘Tories for a day’. If this is OK, I will meet you all outside the Conservative Club at 2.30pm”.

We both jumped at the chance and said “definitely yes, thank you” and assured him the lads would behave themselves. We agreed to pay the shilling each, and, in addition, said that we would send an abundance of some very large outers of FRY’S Chocolates in return for their kindness! The Conservative Club Committee members were absolutely brilliant, for, in addition to providing T.V. viewing and comfortable seats for the final, they also provided both food and drinks at the half time interval and at the end of the match.

Well, as everyone knows, the rest is history. England won the match 4-2 and the World Cup and oh, what celebrations took place for the rest of that most memorable day…

However, our story does not end here…

Remember – the next day we had our audition for the Hughie Green Opportunity Knocks show to attend.

We all went along to sing our 2 songs. We chose ‘500 Miles’ and ‘Michael Row The Boat Ashore’ and, yes, much to our great delight we passed the audition with flying colours and were asked to appear at the Weymouth Pavilion Theatre for the finals that very evening.

We didn’t have a group name so we called ourselves the ‘The Somerdale Singers’. Everyone from the camp of course came to support us and they were asked by us to cheer as loud as they could when the time came for the ‘Clap-o-meter’, which recorded our votes. Our songs went down very well with the audience, and although we didn’t win the competition, we came a very close second.

What a wonderful experience for all the lads, especially as for most of them it was the first time they had ever performed on any stage, let alone in front of a packed audience in a large theatre.

What a weekend we had! A World Cup win for England, the formation of ‘The Somerdale Singers’ and, finally, appearing on Opportunity Knocks all in one weekend.

The success of ‘The Somerdale Singers’ did not end there, for in the second week of our holiday we entered an afternoon musical competition at the Arthur Wolfenden Show on Weymouth Pier, which we won. Mr Wolfenden was so impressed by our performance that he invited us to appear on his own special evening show later that week.

On our return from the Weymouth holiday, word had got around about the success of ‘The Somerdale Singers’ and further bookings came in for events requesting the group appear at various venues in and around the Bristol Area.

Perhaps the highlight of our 1966 World Cup year with ‘The Somerdale Singers’ was in October when we were selected to represent the Bristol & District Federation of Boy’s Clubs to appear at the Royal Festival Hall in London for the National Federation of Boy’s Club’s Show called ‘Clubs are Trumps’.

We were to appear on the same bill and perform on the same stage as the great singer and entertainer Frankie Vaughan, comedian Norman Vaughan and famous pop star, Lulu.

What a wonderful experience in the 1960s to spend the weekend in London and to appear at such a recognised and renowned venue, especially for a group of ordinary lads from Bristol and the surrounding area, aged between 15- 18 (plus of course 3 or 4 a little bit older!).

The icing on the cake that memorable weekend in London ended with a visit to a cinema in Leicester Square where the launch of the film Goal was happening. Believe it or not, Goal was the story of how ‘ENGLAND WON THE WORLD CUP’ that summer. This was our crowning glory…

The final chapter of our story could not have been closed by a better ending. It was an experience we are sure those lads, and certainly the both of us, will never ever forget and will long be remembered. What a year… what a wonderful memory.

P.S. Brian and Dave are now retired and in their 70s and both are still followers of local football and watching our National Team play, let’s wish Roy Hodgson and his England team every success and hope that 48 years on England will again win the World Cup.

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